Three Bone Health Program Physicians Selected as Best Doctors in America 2020

Congratulations to three of our Bone Health Physicians for being placed on the Best Doctors in America for 2020 list: James Avery, MD, Roberto Civitelli, MD, and Michael P. Whyte, MD.

The Best Doctors in America is an online resource developed by Best Doctors, Inc. Best Doctors believes physicians are the most qualified to evaluate the experience and skill sets of other physicians. Physicians are asked “If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty, who would you choose?” Complete information about the selection process can be found at the Best Doctors web site.

This list is also published every August by St Louis Magazine.

Mbalaviele Lab and Colleagues Published in PLOS Biology

Jianqiu Xiao PhD, Chun Wang MD, PhD, Gabriel Mbalaviele PhD, and colleagues, published a paper in PLOS Biology in which they demonstrate that radiation causes tissue damage by dysregulating inflammasome pathways in both host and transplanted cells.

Citation: Radiation causes tissue damage by dysregulating inflammasome-gasdermin D signaling in both host and transplanted cells. Xiao J, Wang C, Yao JC, Alippe Y, Yang T, Kress D, Sun K, Kostecki KL, Monahan JB, Veis DJ, Abu-Amer Y, Link DC, Mbalaviele G. PLoS Biol. 2020 Aug 6;18(8):e3000807. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000807. Online ahead of print.PMID: 32760056

Welcome Nilton Salles Rosa Neto, MD, PhD, RhMSUS

Nilton Salles Rosa Neto, MD, PhD, RhMSUS

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Nilton Salles Rosa Neto has joined our Division as Clinical Fellow in our Osteoporosis and Bone and Mineral Diseases fellowship for the current academic year, 2020-2021. Dr. Salles Rosa Neto received his medical degree from Universidade Federal do Parana, Brazil, in 2004. In 2008, he completed his Internal Medicine residency, and in 2010, a Rheumatology fellowship at Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. In 2013, he obtained his PhD in Immunological and Infections processes, followed by a post-doctoral clinical research fellowship in rheumatology, both also at Universidade de São Paulo, under the tutorship of Dr. Rosa Maria Pereira, a prominent rheumatology and bone specialist in Brazil. Since 2017, he has worked as Rheumatologist at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein and other medical centers in São Paulo, Brazil. He has served as Sub-Investigator in multiple industry-sponsored clinical trials on the effect of biologicals, primarily monoclonal antibodies, in rheumatic disorders; and has published 15 research articles, including one case report in the New England Journal of Medicine. He is married with 2 children, who hopefully will join him soon, and speaks fluent English and French, aside Portuguese. Please, join us in welcoming Nilton to our Division.

Gabriel Mbalaviele, PhD, Promoted to Professor of Medicine

Gabriel Mbalaviele, PhD

Gabriel Mbalaviele, PhD, was promoted to the rank of Professor of Medicine with tenure on July 1st, 2020. Dr. Mbalaviele has reached this outstanding academic achievement through an unusual professional and personal journey. A native of the Republic of the Congo, he received his graduate training in Developmental Physiology in Paris, France, in the early 1990s under the mentorship of Dr. Marie-Christine de Vernejoul. After a post-doctoral experience at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, with Dr. Gregory Mundy, one of the pioneers of bone biology, he decided to develop a career in the biotech industry. After a 13-year successful career that saw him at the forefront in the development of new therapeutic targets for inflammatory arthritis, first at Osiris Therapeutics, then at Pharmacia and Pfizer, in 2010 he decided to make a sharp change and took an offer to join our Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases as Associate Professor of Medicine in 2010. This was considered by many a risky transition, but with determination, talent, and hard work, Dr. Mbalaviele has thrived in our environment and surpassed any expectations very rapidly. He is now a brilliant example of a successful transition from industry to academia. He has established original lines of research on the role of the inflammasome in bone biology and disease, building an independent and productive research group and securing stable funding from the NIH and industry. He has built a reputation as a world-leading expert in the biology of innate immunity. He has achieved national and international reputation and has been asked to serve in grant review panels by the NIH, the VA, and other international agencies, and is currently a member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Development Committee. Aside from his academic achievements, Dr. Mbalaviele is directly involved in the teaching and mentoring missions of our Division, the Skeletal Disorders Training Program, and the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. He also serves in leadership positions to enhance diversity at our Institution; he co-directs the Forum of Underrepresented in Medicine (FURM) and is a mentor in the task force Supporting Underrepresented Minorities for Connections, Community, Engagement, Service and Society. He also contributes to the Bio STL/BioGenerator and other initiatives to help faculty reach out to the biotech community. Dr. Mbalaviele is an outstanding scientist and citizen of our Division and Institution, and it is a distinct pleasure and source of pride to have him in our community.

Steven Mumm, PhD, Promoted to Professor of Medicine

Steven Mumm, PhD

Steven Mumm, PhD, was promoted to the rank of Professor of Medicine on July 1st, 2020. Dr. Mumm has developed his career almost entirely at Washington University and Shriners Hospitals for Children, where he has been a member of their Scientific Staff since 1998. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases in 1999, and promoted to Associate Professor of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Mumm’s research focus is on the genetic bases of human metabolic bone diseases and skeletal dysplasias. Working in close collaboration with Dr. Michael Whyte, a senior member of our Division, Dr. Mumm has published extensively during his career on numerous human genetic diseases affecting the skeleton. This unique output by the Whyte-Mumm team has, over the years, tangibly contributed to advance our knowledge of genetically determined bone disorders (in particular hypophosphatasia) and redefined the landscape of rare bone disorders. Indeed, this publication record remains as the foundational knowledge and textbook material for genetic bone disorders. Dr. Mumm has been funded continuously since 1999 by the NIH, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and industry. He also served as co-investigator in many other projects with Dr. Whyte and other faculty in our Division. Underscoring his stature in the genetics of rare skeletal disorders, Dr. Mumm serves in grant review panels for the NIH and other international funding agencies and is a frequent speaker at international meetings. He has contributed to the education of many trainees at all levels, high school and medical students, residents, post-docs, and junior faculty. Thus, in many ways Dr. Mumm has tangibly contributed to the research and educational missions of our Division and institution, uniquely enriching our scientific environment.

Nerves in Bone: Evolving Concepts in Pain and Anabolism

The innervation of bone has been described for centuries, and our understanding of its function has rapidly evolved over the past several decades. In this review published in the August 2019 issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Dr. Scheller and co-workers provide a historical perspective of skeletal neurobiology highlighting the diverse yet interconnected nature of nerves and skeletal health, particularly in the context of bone therapeutics and pain. The authors advocate for continued collaborations between neuroscientists and bone biologists to advance our understanding of neural regulation of the skeleton and development of novel therapeutic agents to improve skeletal health and better control pain.

You can find this review here: https://asbmr.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jbmr.3822

Gabriel Mbalaviele, PhD, Appointed to Veterans Affairs Study Section

Gabriel Mbalaviele, PhD, has been appointed to serve a 3-year term as a member of the Merit Review Subcommittee, Endocrinology – B, Special Emphasis Panel, Veterans Affairs (VA). Members are selected on the basis of their competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific achievements and honors. Service on a study section also requires mature judgment, objectivity and ability to work effectively in a group. We congratulate Dr. Mbalaviele for this distinguished honor and wish him the best in this new endeavor.

Mahshid Mohseni, MD, Top 10% Doctor in Patient Satisfaction; Accepted in the Washington University Mentored Training Program in Clinical Investigation

Mahshid Mohseni, M.D.

Bone and Mineral Division Faculty Mahshid Mohseni, MD, ranked in the top 10% of patient satisfaction scores for the last 6 months of 2018. Electronic surveys are sent to patients after office visits to rate their experience, and Dr. Mohseni was among those Washington University Physicians with more than 10 survey responses and scores high enough to place her within the top 10% of all providers. Achieving high patient satisfaction is paramount to providing the outstanding medical care that our center offers to patients with osteoporosis and metabolic bone disorders. Furthermore, Dr. Mohseni has been accepted in the WU Clinical Research Training Center Mentored Training Program in Clinical Investigation (MTPCI), which provides multidisciplinary clinical and translational research training to promote the career development of junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows by helping them become clinical and translational researchers. Dr. Mohseni will study how metabolic imbalance in diabetes affects bone strengths in different patient populations. This is an understudied but highly relevant area of investigation as diabetes increases fracture risk independently of bone mass. Congratulations to Dr. Mohseni for her scholarly and professional achievements.

Division Faculty Advocate for NIH Funding and DXA Bill on Capitol Hill

On January 30th, 2019, faculty of the Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases and of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery joined other members and leaders of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) in Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C., to advocate for the National Institutes of Health and predictable funding for scientific research in fiscal year 2020 and beyond. Capitol Hill Day participants also asked their representatives to support legislation that would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to improve access to, and utilization of, bone mass measurement benefits under part B of the Medicare program by establishing a minimum reimbursement for office-based DXA tests.

From the left, Ms. Desiree Mowry, Counsel to Sen. Roy Blunt (MO) standing with Drs. Roberto Civitelli, Deborah Veis and Roberta Faccio.

From the left, Dr. Deborah Veis, Rep. Lacy Clay, Jr. (MO-1), and Drs. Roberta Faccio and Roberto Civitelli, standing in the U.S. Finance Committee hearing room.

Advances in Marrow Adiposity by the Scheller & Craft Lab

In a trio of recent papers, members of the Scheller & Craft lab and colleagues provide key insights about the function of the bone marrow adipocyte and its relationship with cells of the skeletal niche. First, they identify adrenergic receptors as key mediators of the biochemical and functional distinctions between peripheral fat and bone marrow fat. Second, high resolution images (obtained in collaboration with the Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging) provide stunning visuals of the marrow adipocyte at the cellular and sub-cellular level – informing our knowledge about its function within the niche. Summation of the Scheller & Craft lab’s findings, in addition to a comprehensive overview of marrow fat biology, can be found in a 2018 review published in the journal Current Molecular Biology Reports.

References (1–3)

  1. Craft CS, Li Z, MacDougald OA, Scheller EL. Molecular differences between subtypes of bone marrow adipocytes. Curr Mol Biol Rep. 2018 Mar;4(1):16–23.
  2. Robles H, Park S, Joens M, Fitzpatrick J, Craft CS, Scheller EL. Characterization of the bone marrow adipocyte niche with three-dimensional electron microscopy. Bone. 2018 Jan; pii: S8756-3282(18)30020-6.
  3. Scheller EL, Khandaker S, Learman BS, Cawthorn WP, Anderson LM, Pham HA, et al. Bone marrow adipocytes resist lipolysis and remodeling in response to β-adrenergic stimulation. 2018 Bone; pii: S8756-3282(18)30016-4.